By Oraye St. Franklyn
No Nigerian politician or leader in the current dispensation has committed to the promotion of national cohesion, unity and solidarity as Governor has consistently done since his assumption of office as the duly elected Governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2015. Although young, a first time and opposition Governor, he clearly towers higher than all in pushing for equity and justice as the pathway to building an egalitarian society of mutual respect and shared prosperity for all Nigerians.
Despite that his dogged consistency in advocating for equity in politics and governance pitched him at the nascent years of the present dispensation against some power blocs in the country, who tried unsuccessfully to link him as the sponsor of some swelling regional-cum-national agitations, Nigeria’s current broken reality of breached solidarity accentuates the logic of his stance that no nation can make progress or build bonds among its peoples while undermining the principles of equity and justice in the governance process as in politics.
This point and indeed the present Nigerian reality is well captured in the timeless words of evergreen Nationalist and Statesman, Chief Obafemi Owolowo, who said quite succinctly that “A greedy, corrupt, and evil administration is bound to wither, sooner or later, in the face of obsessive desire and mounting clamour on the part of the masses of the people for a welfare regime WHICH WILL BENEFIT ALL EQUALLY. In the course of time there will be a clash of desires and wills between the exploiters and the exploited. These clash of desires and wills will stir the universal mind into action, and a situation will then arise which will bring about the termination of or radical change in the greedy, and evil regime.”
One cannot say for certain if the above quote is one of Governor Nyesom Wike’s motivations. But we can generally agree that the call for equity, being a universal ideal, runs freely in the minds of people of good conscience and Wike is one of them.
How Nigeria’s most vilified political leader has managed to stay afloat and become a reference point in people-centered governance and genuine moves aimed at promoting national cohesion will remain topical and a subject of admiration for a long time to come. How he has stayed consistent on values and in promoting the interest of all Nigerians without undermining the stake of his own People, unlike others of yore, cannot but serve as inspiration to the current and emerging political class.
At a time of great strife, as we currently experience, dogged by regional and national agitations for inclusion, equity and justice as a result of prevailing sectionalism, nepotism and national governmental maladministration, courageous political leaders like Governor Wike hold the ace in uniting Nigerians and forging strong bonds among our federating nationalities.
As can be deduced already, the 2019 elections won’t be about corruption or the economy as much as it would be about the need to unite Nigerians and end the prevailing national bloodletting. That election would be the referendum on Nigeria’s future. Whether or not we move forward would depend on its outcome, given the deathly depth of our dearth of values and broken bonds.
However, we cannot but acknowledge that Governor Wike’s efforts, as one of the view consistent voices along with people like Olufemi Olu-Kayode, to speak truth to power has greatly helped to manage feverish tempers flaring for good reasons and worthy causes, but which, had they been left unguarded could have set alight a conflagration that may have brought Nigeria not just to her crippling knees but complete rubbles by now. This is why, one believes, he would remain relevant for a long time to come especially since he is not one of those plagued by the ravaging temerarious ambition in the polity.
The truth must be said. At no other time than now, does Nigeria need Statesmen like Governor Wike to help fortify our bonds, liberalize our politics and entrench a values-driven approach to governance that can ultimately help unleash the best of our best to work for our common best. True leaders must unite the people and instigate their prosperity. Governor Wike exemplifies that value and more leaders should be like him, and even aspire to be better than him for our Nation to rebound stronger and more prosperous. It’s doable.